The next few months are an important time for our community to gather, reflect on the progress of recent years, and continue moving forward. With many opportunities to connect, ONAP will continue to emphasize the National HIV/AIDS Strategy, and we’re seeking to highlight activities that are bringing us closer to our national goals.
Since last year, when we updated the Strategy through 2020 and released the Federal Action Plan, Federal agencies have been implementing nearly 100 action items in 2016 alone. We also know that those of you outside the Federal government—people living with HIV, service providers, health department staff, and advocates—are also working to serve your communities best by applying the Strategy to your work.
We want to hear about how YOU are implementing the Strategy! ONAP is looking to highlight innovative work aligned with the Strategy that improves how you reach your communities and make progress towards the goals. In 150-200 words, send us your stories here by Friday September 30. You are encouraged to use our Community Action Plan Framework to help align your submission with a particular Goal, Step, or Recommended Action of the Strategy.
Next week, like many of you, I’ll be participating in the 2016 Ryan White National Conference here in Washington, DC. It will be a prime occasion to engage with Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program providers, clients, and staff from around the country. Going into the conference, I recall last year when we marked 25 years of the Ryan White program, which today serves more than half of all people diagnosed with HIV and remains a cornerstone of our national response to HIV. Next week, I’m honored to be a speaker during the opening plenary session, and I’m especially looking forward to hearing even more about how the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program continues to help achieve Strategy goals by strengthening our system of comprehensive care for people living with HIV.
In September, ONAP will also participate at the 20th U.S. Conference on AIDS (USCA) in Hollywood, FL. This is another chance to see how communities, local agencies, and people living with HIV are responding to the calls of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy to reach those especially affected by HIV. As with past USCA conferences, ONAP is proud to organize a Federal session with our colleagues from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Health Resources and Services Administration, and Department of Housing and Urban Development, which will highlight collaborations between these agencies and successes from their grantees in implementing the Strategy on the ground.
And as we enter the fall, ONAP will continue to work closely with all of our partners in the Strategy’s Federal Interagency Workgroup (FIW) to ensure we meet the commitments set in the Federal Action Plan. As FIW co-chairs, Dr. Rich Wolitski and I have focused discussions around Federal actions to address the Strategy’s 4 key areas of focus and key populations. At our next meeting in early September, the FIW will continue to discuss pressing issues such as disparities facing gay and bisexual men (noting that National Gay Men’s HIV/AIDS Awareness Day is coming up), and the topics of the Strategy’s developmental indicators: PrEP use, HIV stigma, and HIV among transgender people. All this and more will be included in the annual progress report on Strategy implementation, to be released on World AIDS Day.
In the meantime, I look forward to seeing many of you at the meetings to come, and hearing your many stories of success.